Introducing some silver

About this time last year, when we started articulating our goals for Dreamland, we already said that in 2018 we were going to introduce more beneficial animals into our ecosystem. Our initial thoughts were always about chickens and ducks – as you do – hence the whole duck pond project at Dreamland. Fish have always been on the cards, but in a way they have been flying under the radar. Little did we know we were going to get these little buggers first!

We always said we’ll get the ducks once the whole area around the pond has been established. So we knew the ducks would only come towards the end of this year, once the second phase planting has been completed, in order to reduce the influx of mud into the pond. So we sort-of focussed on the chooks. In fact, we have already ordered a big coup and run in kit form over the summer holidays when they were on sale. It’s lying in wait in the shade on the patio, and it’s on the project list.

Searching for Nemo

OK, but back to fish. Based on discussions with Josh from Water Quality Solutions (the guys who installed the pond pump and filtration system), and some follow-up research, I was convinced we needed to get Silver Perch for our pond. So then the hunt for Silver Perch started. It turned out quite a process, with many dead ends along the way. The local aquaponics guy in Geelong used to have some, but now he just focusses on aquaponics. At once stage, Water Quality Solutions got in a shipment of fingerlings, but they died overnight in their shed on one of those 40°C days we had this past summer. Then I located a supplier in Victoria – but they were on the other side of Melbourne, halfway to the NSW border – it would have required a 6 hours round trip to go and fetch the fish. And so the dead-ends continued, and I guess it’s because of this stop-start process that they disappeared under the radar.

Then one day, out of the blue, I was in discussion with Kim at Water Quality Solutions about some biological algae treatment for our natural water swimming pool, when she mentioned they had a new fish supplier, who would also deliver the fish himself. So the impromptu order was placed for 25 Silver Perch and I waited for the phone call to arrange a time for the delivery.

They’ve arrived!

I was really astonished when one day as I was working at Homeland, a large box was delivered by Aus Post, labelled “Contents: Live fish”. I have gotten used to receiving plants by mail, quite often, but can you believe it? These small live critters survived a trip through the postal system in a sealed bag of water! I’ve subsequently learned people post bees and all kinds of small animals. Fortunately our post service is very efficient and they hand-deliver these types of parcels to our property – with the live fish bouncing around on the bumpy gravel roads and all!

Fish - by mail

Live fish by mail

Release ceremony

So we immediately opened the bag and added some pond water to their water to get them acclimatised, and then waited for the kids to get home from school. Great excitement! The kids didn’t even have a snack, nor change out of their school clothes – we just rushed straight to the pond for the release ceremony. OK, I won’t go into the details of logically dividing an uneven number of fish between two kids (which surprisingly, went very amicably) and the bizarre sets of names that were dished out…

Fish - ceremony

Release ceremony

We released them slowly so they could adapt to the water and not get hurt in a rush of water splashing out of the plastic bag. You could almost hear them shout “freedom!” as we released them (cue Ritchie Havens from Woodstock for those who can remember that far back). I guess for the fish it must have felt similar to us diving into the ocean after a 14-hour long-haul flight. They immediately set of to explore and very quickly found the little shelter table with the plants on top. It was interesting how they broke up their schools and then re-merged into new ones and they went about exploring. There is a bit of algae in the pool already, so hopefully they should get nice big and fat soon.

They merged very well with their surroundings, so hopefully they will survive fine.

Fish - blending in

OK if you look carefully you can see the fingerlings

The fish disappeared!

The next morning early Patricia went to inspect – and while I’m planting some bush tucker over at Homeland – I get this frantic cry that the fish have disappeared! We thought maybe the pump had sucked them in or some kingfisher had already discovered them. (We’ve had an experience like that with goldfish disappearing from our pond in South Africa many moons ago due to an intrepid little cormorant.) Fortunately, they were just very well hidden – she saw two later on (Fatty and Strip they were called) and I saw a big school later in the day too. So hopefully they’ve settled in and enjoying life at Dreamland.

Welcome to Dreamland little Silver Perch!

No doubt we’ll report on their progress as we go on, hopefully with some clearer photos. Some things you just have to photograph with a proper camera.


About (207 Articles)
My name is Martin Rennhackkamp, I now live happily in Lara, Victoria, Australia with my wife, two children and two dogs. My interests, apart from the obvious Organic, Biodynamic and Permaculture Gardening and Farming, include sustainable living, surfing, horse-riding, a wide variety of music, dancing, nature, birds, reading, Christianity and a few other things which I never get to...

2 Comments on Introducing some silver

  1. Great work Martin !

  2. Oh goodness! When a section of Bean Creak goes dry, there are always young trout stuck in puddles in the dry section. I feel badly for them getting eaten by the coons. One year, I brought sixty of them to a koi pond at home, but when the water warmed up, they all jumped out as if going upriver, and died on the patio.

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